Tuesday night’s impressive display against Tonbridge Angels is just a sign of things to come for Eastbourne Borough this season, according to the match-winner Simon Johnson.
Johnson, who was dubbed Man of the Match at Priory Lane even before his injury-time strike sealed the 2-1 victory for the Sports, shares the excitement and optimism of his manager and many of his colleagues in believing Borough can challenge the league’s big spenders, starting with Ebbsfleet on Saturday.
Speaking after Tuesday’s victory, he said, “I think we can play better than we did tonight and on Saturday, personally.
“By the looks of us now,
no team really fazes us - if it’s Ebbsfleet, if it’s Whitehawk, who got smashed again tonight - it can be anyone at the minute.
“We’re all confident. There’s a bit of a different buzz in the changing room this year - it’s a bit more local, bit more knitted.
“We always look like such a great side in training, passing the ball around, even on the training pitch, which is a lot worse than the pitch here.
“When we get the ball down, we can pass anyone off the pitch. I think we’ll have a really good season if we keep that up.”
Johnson is also hoping to build on last year and a season that saw his versatility earn himself the Supporters’ Player of the Season award - and a new role just behind the strikers could see the 22-year-old make even more of an impact this time round.
He said, “Like everyone says, I can play anywhere; right-back last year, centre-mid, left mid, right mid, but I feel a bit more comfortable just behind the striker and I think we work quite well together. It gives them a little different dimension, going past the strikers but I am hoping to get on the score-sheet more this year, so tonight’s a good start for me and a good start for the team.
“I thought, second half, we were a quality side, a different team. The gaffer said at half time, be a bit patient because it will come. We came out of the traps really quickly and we deserved it in the end. The crowd really helped as well, it was nice to get them on our side.
“If we can get our home performances up to how we were playing away last year, we’ll be up there this season.“